Sun conjunct Mercury: shall we talk about Twins? And Epigenetics?

Every so often, I take a vow not to buy any more books. As I left our excellent local charity book store in full vow mode a while ago, a book cover stopped me in my tracks. On the back, in large white letters on a dark blue background, it said: “The realisation that an individual genetic code can result in multiple different outcomes is at the heart of epigenetics – the most exciting discipline in biology today.”(i)


Gorgeous Mercury

‘Yes!!’ I said, perhaps not entirely to myself judging from the pained look from a fellow browser next to me. Remembering the vow for a moment, I scanned the back page with my smartphone app. Then, feeling mean and irresponsible, I bought the book. Reader, it was worth it.

By now you are probably wondering ‘Where on earth is she going with this?’

To in-depth astrology, that’s where. Both the hard sciences including genetics and the symbolic arts including astrology are attempting to put comprehensible frameworks round a vast puzzle: why are we here, and how can we best cope with the unpredictable and often brutal uncertainties of life?  This being the case,  I find it deeply dispiriting that they have increasingly been at odds with one another since the dawning of the Scientific Revolution. We need complementary disciplines, surely, to help us live as constructively as possible on our beautiful, fragile planet.

My excitement at the back cover quote from “The Epigenetics Revolution” therefore arose from the link it instantly made for me between the practices of both genetics and in-depth astrology. Most astrologers would agree that the complex patterns revealed in an individual’s horoscope can express themselves in a range of possible manifestations from the same core. That quote regarding the genetic code struck me as being remarkably similar to what astrologers find in their practice.

In effect, two individuals with identical DNA can and do manifest both similar and different lives…In a chapter titled “Why Aren’t Identical Twins Actually Identical?” author Nessa Carey states that “…The differences between identical twins have certainly captured the imaginations of creative people from all branches of the arts, but they have also completely captivated the world of science…”(ibid. p75)

(click on image to enlarge)

This is certainly the most frequent question which students, clients, friends and the general public have thrown at me over the years. If identical twins born no more than a minute apart have identical horoscopes, how come there are usually significant differences both in their personalities and their life patterns, as well as undoubted similarities? Epigenetics would appear to provide the answer from a scientific point of view. ( for an astrological perspective, read my articles HERE)

Geneticist Nessa Carey is a very clear, entertaining writer. She uses vivid analogies from everyday life to illustrate an incredibly complex web of varied influences – both before and after birth – carried by infinitely subtle chemical messengers, which modify our DNA epigenetically to produce, as she puts it, considerable variations on life’s basic script.

  Using Shakespeare’s famous play ‘Romeo and Juliet’ as one example, she points out that in the hands of two different directors ie George Cukor in 1936 and Baz Luhrmann in 1996, … “ Both productions used Shakespeare’s script, yet the two movies are entirely different…”(ibid. p2)

Theatrical analogy is also very useful to astrologers. Along with, no doubt, many of my astrologer colleagues, I invite my clients to think of their horoscopes as a stage with the planets representing the characters standing quietly on it, waiting for life’s script to unfold from their birth moment.

I explain that I can certainly portray accurately the essence of each character illustrated by the ten planets, their ‘style’ as illustrated by the sign they occupy, and their location in terms of which houses are tenanted. I can also describe their dialogues and interactions, pointing out how different the conversation is between eg Moon square Saturn and Mars sextile Uranus.

However, I tell them that I cannot describe with unfailing accuracy the whole range of possible branches which arise from each core character or archetype. I have seen, often enough, how for example one person’s Moon square Saturn expresses very differently from another’s – this is true of every other horoscope pattern. This is also true in observing clients’ varying responses to the challenges and shaping influences of transits and progressions.

It can be difficult – if not impossible –  to work out why one person emerges battered but strengthened from eg a lengthy Pluto transit to several planets, whilst another of the same age, with a very similar horoscope, emerges battered and beaten. Neither has epigenetics, as yet, come up with a full explanation of why some genetic variations occur in some circumstances, but not in others of remarkable similarity.

I have long grappled to understand at least something of the essence of what quantum physics has revealed regarding the contradictory vastness of the energy field in which we exist, and the patterns arising therefrom which appear to interact to create the whole of life of which we are part. My conclusion is that practitioners of both the hard sciences and the symbolic arts are considering the same vast energy field, and attempting to describe in different but essentially complementary ways, those mysterious patterns that shape our lives.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could share our knowledge?


This post is a slightly edited version of my bi-monthly column for Dell Horoscope Magazine  ‘The astro-view from Scotland’  from the September/October 2018 Issue.

(i) Nessa Carey “The Epigenetics Revolution”, Icon Books,  2011

Image result for mercury astrological jpegs

950 words copyright Anne Whitaker/Dell Horoscope Magazine 2019

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page of Writing from the Twelfth House

11 responses to “Sun conjunct Mercury: shall we talk about Twins? And Epigenetics?

  1. I love your considered articles and how you share the essence of what you’ve gleaned with us! These subjects are ones I’ve long contemplated and, although the unknowns are so vast as to make anything suspect, what you’ve come to here so beautifully aligns with my own conclusions that I had to say I’m so glad to see it given some credence as we’ve come to it separately through long experience. Thank you and best wishes to you and yours Anne!

    Liked by 1 person

    • What a lovely, affirming message, Rena. Yes, as you have just demonstrated, I’m by no means the only person to have contemplated those parallels and come to broadly the same conclusions. We are after all, looking through our respective lenses at the same underlying Ground…best wishes to you and yours too!


  2. Just brilliant! You have definitely landed on something. I wonder if the individual’s experience of the first 5 years of life can explain alot about the variations of expression. So much more to learn.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My, thanks, Carla! Yes, no doubt nurture v nature in those first critical years can indeed explain some of the facets of variation. I’ve put a link in the post to some of my own thoughts about what astrology has to say about twin differences – and about astrological ‘twins’ who are not related. Have you had a read of those articles yet?


  3. Hi Anne ~ Your post touches on the deeper question(s) theologians, philosophers, mystics, shamans, and all those who observe human nature have considered throughout history. For me, it’s about the ineffable ‘something’ neither science nor astrology can define, quantify or reliably predict. It remains a mystery, unknowable. Why do some who are oppressed become oppressors, while others who’ve endured similar forms of oppression (and lack of nurturing) forgive and go on to serve the oppressed?

    For lack of a better word, I think it also has to do with ‘Soul’, and the mysterious and unpredictable ways in which each individual responds to the repeated callings to soulfulness during their lifetimes. I believe soul is what we were before we entered this life and who we’ll be after we leave it. It’s what we’ve forgotten and are called to *remember* ~ something we can only glean hints of from our astrology, if at all. Which isn’t to say we don’t change and grow, or that astrology is without merit.

    Over the years I’ve learned a lot about myself and others using astrology and its archetypes as tools. I continue to be amazed at the synchronicities and connections they sometimes help me to make, while remaining aware of astrology’s limitations, particularly in defining character or Soul.

    I have to add how I was born on a day when several other ‘famous’ people were born. To some extent (or at least at previous points in my life), all of us seemed to share certain artistic and/or physical abilities, as well as a certain independent fierceness in thinking. I also have the fixed stars, Antares/Aldebaran exactly conjunct my IC/MC axis. For me, these energies have mostly played out privately, far away from the limelight. Unlike some of my astro-twins, who may or may not have prominent fixed stars in their charts, yet seem to have been either destined or *drawn* to fame (North Node-Venus-Sun conjunct).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for this thoughtful reflection, LB. I think you are right that none of our lenses, in this instance genetics and astrology, can reveal all that much about the essential Ground whose nature we are trying to comprehend. What lies beyond everything, ie Mystery, also lies way beyond any form of human analysis, or possibility of ultimate human comprehension.


  4. Beautifully said, Anne. I think that’s it exactly. To echo what you said in your response, I think we’re attempting to define what philosopher and theologian, Paul Tillich understood to be the “Ground of Being-Itself” which is beyond Being-Itself.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Fascinating Anne! And being in Japan at present, I can understand that place of birth could make a big difference too, even though I’m no astrologer. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for dropping by, Jane. And yes, date, place and exact time of birth are the three essential co-ordinates for drawing up an accurate horoscope. Very much enjoying your Japan pics! X


  6. … and THIS is a perfect explanation of life and our experience of it. Perhaps we were made to ponder and not to “know”? Perhaps the pondering must be done for a certain length of time, the birth of awareness must have its gestation period like all births after all? Mostly, I love the pondering, the knowing is just the icing. PS Anne, I am also reading an interesting and speculative book on such possibilities! 🤔🤓


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